Second-Trimester Exams and Tests
Routine exams and tests
At each prenatal visit, you can expect to be weighed. Your blood pressure will be checked. Your urine may also be checked for bacteria, protein, or sugar. Your doctor or midwife will track your baby's growth and position. To do this, he or she will measure the size of your uterus (fundal height) and will gently press (palpate) your belly. Up to the 36th week of pregnancy, the baby can change position often. The baby may be head down (vertex lie), feet down (breech lie), or even sideways (transverse lie).
During your second trimester, expect to have these tests:
- Glucose tolerance test (GTT). This test is most often done between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. It looks for gestational diabetes.
- Complete blood count (CBC), which includes hemoglobin and hematocrit. This test is to make sure you don't have iron deficiency anemia.
Your doctor may also recommend:
- A fetal ultrasound in the second trimester before 20 weeks. This test is often used to find your due date and look for problems with the fetus.
- Electronic fetal heart monitoring (non-stress) anytime after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This test can help see how your fetus is doing.
Pregnant women and their partners can choose whether to have tests for birth defects. It can be a hard and emotional choice. Think about what the results of a test would mean to you. How might the results affect your choices about your pregnancy? You and your doctor can choose from several tests. What you choose depends on your wishes, how far along you are in your pregnancy, your family health history, and what tests are available in your area. You may have no tests, one test, or several tests.
Second-trimester tests for birth defects can be done between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. The triple or quad screening checks the amounts of three or four substances in your blood. These tests can also be done as part of an integrated screening test. Amniocentesis may also be done to find certain birth defects.
Experts recommend that all pregnant women be screened for depression during their pregnancy. Depression is common during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. If you have symptoms of depression during pregnancy or are depressed and learn that you are pregnant, make a treatment plan with your doctor right away. Not treating depression can cause problems during pregnancy and birth. To find out if you are depressed, your health care provider will ask you questions about your health and your feelings.
Current as of: May 29, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology
Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of: May 29, 2019